In Germany, more and more electrolysis plants are being planned that produce hydrogen using electricity. Electrolysers with an output of 10.1 gigawatts are now planned by 2030, according to a study by the Energy Economics Institute at the University of Cologne (EWI) presented by the energy company Eon. If all of these systems are implemented, the federal government’s goal of installing an electrolysis capacity of 10 gigawatts in Germany by 2030 would be achieved. In a similar EWI analysis in August 2023, the planned generation capacity by 2030 was still 8.7 gigawatts. The systems are planned primarily in the northern German states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.

Eon: Only a few projects have been finalized

Eon was cautious about the numbers. There is a large discrepancy between planned projects and final investment decisions, said Germany’s largest energy supplier and distribution network operator. “Of the 88 announced projects, a final investment decision has only been made for 16 projects with a planned generation capacity of 0.3 gigawatts – and therefore for only around three percent of the announced electrolysis capacity.” The group sees insufficient funding, strict requirements or late funding commitments as possible obstacles to final investment decisions. “In addition, there is currently a lack of transport and storage infrastructure.”

Installed capacity in Germany is only 66 megawatts

“Germany is only at the beginning of a long journey when it comes to ramping up hydrogen,” emphasized the managing director of the hydrogen subsidiary Eon Hydrogen, Gabriël Clemens. The clear upward trend initially looks good in theory. “In practice, we are still a long way from our goal.” In February, the already installed generation capacity was 66 megawatts, or 0.066 gigawatts.

Hydrogen produced in a climate-neutral manner should play a central role in the future economic system. As an energy source, it is intended to generate electricity in new gas power plants when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. In industry, for example, it is intended to replace carbon in steel production and thus avoid large amounts of climate-damaging carbon dioxide. The waste product is simply water.